New Semester Reset

It’s just about time to head back to college, and you’ll be doing so either confidently, apprehensively, or maybe even begrudgingly. Either way, you’ve already achieved your first win of the semester by going back–congratulations! Why is this a win? Because it shows your dedication, persistence and self-value. You need to recognize these qualities in yourself because they’re vital to your success. And you’ll need them in larger doses throughout the semester.

What’s in Your Backpack?

students-691671_1280Whether you’re returning to college with a backpack full of confidence or apprehension, there’s something useful for you here, so stick with me. Those of you who will start the new semester full of confidence, please help your fellow students by sharing any tips and advice you might have in the Reply section below. Indeed, part of being an Intentional Student is being a helpful member of your student community.

As you head back to class, keep in mind that college success is not just about academics: it’s also about attitude, persistence, and character. When you leverage all of these, you become intentional about your learning, and the habits and mindset gained will be of tremendous advantage to you also in work and life. The actions described below, when done consistently and sincerely, will be truly transformative for you. They will transform you into an (cue superhero musicIntentional Student.


The set of instructions below can be summed up in 3 actions:     

identify –> focus –> attack 

superhero-534120_1280Let’s get started!

{There are several steps to this process, so please work through them at a manageable pace to ensure that you do indeed complete the process.}

Identify and Celebrate Your Successes

1. List your successes from last semester, no matter how small they may seem, and celebrate them by proudly reading the list aloud (or to yourself if that seems weird). Either way, be sure to read them intentionally and proudly! I know this may seem strange, but a positive and confident attitude is vital to your success. Focusing on your wins, no matter how trivial they may seem, is the best way to establish this attitude.

2. Reward yourself for these successes by taking a few minutes to do something you enjoy or to simply reflect on them with pride. Taking time to focus on and celebrate your successes is something you should do throughout the semester; it should become a habit.

To maintain your positive attitude, your successes, no matter how small, must be the center of your attention.

3. Reflect on and list the reasons for these successes. What actions, behaviors, attitudes, relationships, etc. caused them? It is vital to your success to be aware of this so that you can repeat these actions and behaviors and maintain these attitudes and relationships. Such awareness will ensure that you are intentional about achieving future success.

Identify and Take Control of Your Struggles and Setbacks 

1. List your struggles and setbacks from last semester. Although it’s important to focus on the positive, you must also attend to the negative so that you can be prepared for and successfully manage it. Yes, you should stay positive, but you should also remain realistic.

2. Identify the ones you had control over by writing “Me” next to them. You’ll need to be brutally honest here! When you take responsibility for your actions (as well as your inaction), you take control of your educational experience, rather than letting it control you.

3. Next create a “Me” list. Why a separate list? Because you need tunnel-vision focus on the obstacles you can control. Be sure to tunnel-711608_1280leave room to write next to each item on this list


4. Determine the positive/effective version of each negative/ineffective action, behavior, etc. Write each next to its corresponding action/behavior.

5. Now determine the values associated with the positive/effective versions, such as integrity, dedication, persistenceWrite these values next to their corresponding items. It’s okay to have the same value for several items and more than one value for a single item. These values will become the foundation for the goals you’ll set for yourself.

Be Intentional

Be Valuable ~ Be Intentional

6. Now create value equations by grouping all the positive/effective behaviors, etc. that = a particular value. Set it up like an addition problem. Now you have the formulas for your educational transformation into an Intentional Student!

When you finish this activity, you’ll have 3 vital resources:

  • a list of successes to see what you’re already capable of and to help you maintain a can-do attitude
  • a list of transformed actions and behaviors to help you eliminate previous struggles and setbacks
  • a set of value equations to highlight particular actions and behaviors that will help you achieve needed values. I suggest you copy these equations on something larger and post them where they’re always visible to you. Extra large post-its work perfectly for this.

Identifying, listing, and reflecting are key actions to becoming intentional with your education–and your life for that matter. Starting this habit with your past educational successes and struggles will put you on the intentional path to a more successful new semester. path with steps in woods, sunny


Need additional help or encouragement? Ask a question below or contact me.

*Please share your experience with this activity in the comments section.

3 responses

  1. […] To begin the process of developing intention for college and life success, please follow these steps. […]

  2. […] “New Semester Reset,” I provide step-by-step instructions for developing an intentional approach to college. What […]

  3. […] If you think you might need a complete overhaul to your approach to college, begin that process here and stay tuned to The Intentional […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: